Saturday, 27 July 2013

Spotlight On....

Once Upon An Inci....

Hands up who honestly reads the ingredient list and understands it before purchasing a product?

Anyone? Didn't think so....

In Europe and the US, among other countries, manufacturers have to use the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic's Ingredients (INCI-List).

The purpose of the system is to overcome country and language barriers. That is why all INCI lists use Latin, botanical names. This way, say if you are allergic to an ingredient your doctor can tell you the official INCI name, making it easier for you to avoid it.

Using the INCI system does mean that ingredient lists can look rather technical, even in the case of the simplest ingredients, such as salt (sodium chloride) and water (aqua). However, many good companies want you to understand their ingredient list and will put both the INCI name and the commonly recognized name.

E.g. Vaccinim Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil

The FDA directs that ingredients be listed in concentration by weight. So the first listed ingredient is the most concentrated ingredient in the product. If water is the first ingredient on the label, it is likely that upwards of 75% of the product is compromised of water. Preservatives are always necessary if water is present to keep the product form spoiling. However, peptides, enzymes, vitamins, antioxidants and a host of other active ingredients are extremely effective in  small percentages.

It is impossible to determine exact amounts of each though, because divulging that would reveal the company's formula.

Creating a skincare product is little bit like making a meal. First of all you need to go shopping. It all starts with the scientists. Often by accident. Scientists, with eye watering budgets, spend millions researching how to say cure blindness and inadvertently realize the test subjects may not be able to see but they are showing reduced signs of ageing. So, I completely pulled that example out of my a** but you get the gist. It's how it happened with San Francisco brand Algenist- a bunch of nerdy types were researching alternate sustainable fuels, algae to be precise, and realised the Alguronic Acid from the algae was not only extremely hydrating but also anti ageing. The team behind Algenist not only have an incredible range of skin care products they also flew a commercial jet across America, impressive huh.

So the scientists then do Clinical Studies on their ingredients and state that X at say 5% reduced wrinkle depth by 50% in two weeks. Companies then go to the 'shop' and buy X to use in their product. HOWEVER, they do not need to put X at 5% into their product. They can put it in at 0.2% and not tell you. Sneaky. Don't just trust Clinical Studies, see if the company has also done Consumer Trials- where the finished product is tried on volunteers. Companies have no idea when they spend thousands mixing ingredients together that they will work in synergy with each other/ at the percent they have included. To be honest it is all a bit of a gamble.

Check back for what ingredients to look out for, what they mean and why they are included.

1 comment:

  1. I have allergy against some stuffs, but I have not found out what it's anyway... So I don't look at ingreditents much..

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